The Job Market Waiting Game

Updated on April 30, 2020
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Alexandra is an ambitious, self-driven, and aggressive woman who knows what she wants.

Right after losing my job, I went into panic mode. I received no warning or indication I would be fired.

When I initially joined the firm, my boss promised me the world. I worked for an attorney who received her license only a few months prior to opening her firm. My belief was, "This is great!, I'll grow with the firm, and I'll finally be valued as an employee." Well, I was wrong. Never be fooled by numbers that seem too good to be true. My employer overextended herself, subsequently causing my layoff.

A month into my employment, I was called into the office. Dread and fear flowed through me. I could feel the sweat drip down the side of my face. I thought my heart was going to beat directly out of my chest. Then it happened, bam!

"We can't afford to keep you."

My heart sank, I was angry, frightened, and worried. The stability I longed for fell apart in an instant. That night, I stayed awake until the wee hours of the morning applying for jobs. I thought to myself, "The law of probability will be on my side if I keep on applying. I mean, somebody has to answer, am I right?"

Playing the Waiting Game

The next morning came and upon waking I grabbed my phone and frantically looked through my emails for responses. I checked missed calls and went on my desktop to triple check any incoming emails. I searched law firms in the tri-state area and began cold calling offices in a desperate effort to find an open slot.

Finally, I received a phone call from a recruiter, then another from HR at a prospective job. I felt calmer upon receiving those calls, but knew the game was about to start. This game is called, "the job market waiting game."

The rules of the game are as follows: a recruiter or hiring manager promises you the world, then you sit and wait. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking. One minute feels like 20 hours, yet time is going by fast because you don't have a job. Time is funny that way. It goes by quick when you want it to last (that's a topic for another article). Crazy right?

Here are a few tips I've learned along the way. I'm sharing them with you so you can maintain your sanity during this waiting game.

1. When All Else Fails, Take a Shower

Believe it or not, taking a shower will calm you down. You won't feel as impulsive. People tend to get a "dirty" feeling after they've been let go. They feel violated and wronged. Taking a shower can help bring back that "clean" feeling.

2. Apply to as Many Jobs as You Can

The law of probability can either be your best friend or worst enemy. The more jobs you apply to, the likelihood somebody will reach out. That's not an opinion, it's a fact.

3. Don't Shy Away From Remedial Temp Work

We have a tendency to snub and reject jobs we feel are beneath our skillset or pay grade. But remember, you don't know everything. You could learn a skill you've never encountered before, or, more importantly, could meet someone who will aid in your search.

Take a break and get some fresh air.
Take a break and get some fresh air. | Source

4. Go Outside

When we are in "job search panic mode," we feel a need to have our phones and computers near us at all times. I'm not saying to leave your phone at home while you go for a stroll (potentially missing a phone call regarding a job). However, you can still go for a walk and have your phone near you. A phone call is the same if it occurs in your house or at the park.

Well, what happens if you don't have data left and need to use your computer or be near a strong Wi-Fi connection to receive emails? Good question. If you need a computer and are "housebound." Set reminders for yourself to go outside every hour. You can go on your roof, or stand outside. During "job search panic mode," we don't want to be far from home base. So do yourself a favor, and stay close, as to not exacerbate your anxiety. However, don't forget to get fresh air.

5. Write a Blog

You don't have to be a writer to post an article online. You have a story to share. People will often say "I am not going to waste my time doing anything else accept apply to jobs." That is all well and good, but once you've applied, there is, IN FACT, a period where you MUST wait. It is during this specific time, where our sanity is put to the test. While waiting, do some writing.

6. Exercise

At this point, you probably don't want to spend money when the cash flow isn't flowing. Good news! There are free workout videos available online! So no excuse not to expend some energy. You may be jobless, but you aren't worthless. There are free ways to take care of yourself both physically and mentally.

7. Breathe!

Remember: During the waiting period, you have a chance to become a desired candidate, whom employers wish to entice, or, you can become an annoyance, subsequently sabotaging yourself. The job marking waiting period is crucial to the job hunt. Don't ruin your chances of a great position by being needy and impulsive. Staring at the phone, constantly refreshing your email, and relentlessly calling your recruiter for updates will not show initiative, but desperateness. Staring at the phone or obsessively calling for updates won't help your situation. A recruiter or potential boss will tell you "the position has been filled,' just so you stop hounding them. Keep on applying and the law of probability will be on your side.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


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